Key tax dates and deadlines for 2018/19
It is an inevitable reality that, for anyone earning a livin...
By Jonathan London on 1st February 2016
Freelance careers have always been an attractive alternative to the standard nine-to-five office job, but in the last few years the world of self-employment has become even more popular than it was before.
In this modern era of reliable broadband connections, free web tools and thriving online business models, it has become easier than ever for people to say goodbye to their permanent roles and start their own business from home.
As self-employment gains recognition as a viable and rewarding career path, you may yourself be wondering whether the freelance lifestyle might suit you better than the daily grind of the permanent workforce. While it’s certainly not for everyone, there are a number of important benefits that freelancing can offer that might convince you to take the plunge.
Here are five key advantages of freelancing that are well worth considering when making your decision:
You can become better off financially
Many people are conditioned to believe that the traditional job-for-life model is the only way to a lucrative career, but the reality is that this just isn’t true in 2016 any more – if it even ever was true.
In the current economic climate, job security is hard to come by in any field, and toiling away at the same company for years doesn’t always get you the rewards you deserve. By going freelance, you have a real opportunity to substantially increase your income, while also reducing your outgoings.
Without needing to spend so much time and money on travel and commuting, you’ll be able to really focus on making a success of your business, knowing that you’ll reap the full, undiluted rewards of any work you put into building the company and securing new contracts.
You can do what you love
It’s relatively rare for people on a payroll to be able to say they love their job. Even for those lucky enough to secure a role in a field they’re passionate about, there’s always a good chance they’ll be spending much of their time fulfilling someone else’s priorities, rather than their own.
When you’re in charge of your own business, you have free rein to pursue the opportunities that excite you most, utilising your own skills and passions to create a service that plays to your individual strengths.
This can be particularly attractive for those who want to pursue a creative career in art and writing – where salaried roles are rare and hard to come by – but the same can be said for anyone with a professional dream and the conviction to make it a reality.
You can set your own work-life balance
Living life on the clock is one of the more dispiriting aspects of permanent nine-to-five roles. Everyone who’s worked this way knows the frustration of having to arrange holiday plans around restrictive annual leave schedules, or the simple misery of dragging yourself out of bed on a cold, grey Monday morning.
When some people think of freelancing, they imagine it as a 24/7 holiday, characterised by working in your pyjamas and sleeping until noon every day. While that’s not an attitude that will breed success, it is true that the freelance lifestyle is much more fluid and flexible, allowing you to create a much more accommodating work-life balance.
As such, you’ll be able to choose your own hours, take holidays when you want them and set your professional schedule around your personal needs – rather than vice-versa.
You can choose the people you surround yourself with
One of the biggest downsides of working in an office is the acceptance that you’ll be spending most of your time with people you won’t necessarily like or have anything in common with. This can be a real problem when the person you’re clashing with is your boss, and it’s a situation many of us will recognise and dread.
By going freelance, you can wave goodbye to overbearing managers and annoying coworkers in favour of a new professional life where you get to choose who you spend your time with. If you do decide to take on an employee or collaborator, you’ll be totally free to pick and choose the people with whom you’re most likely to click personally.
The same is true of clients, which will be a real blessing to anyone who’s been lumbered with a nightmare customer at work and not been able to do anything to get rid of them. When you’re a freelancer, you can simply choose not to take on or retain any clients where a conflict of personality is impairing the work experience.
You can find your own career path
One of the most inspiring things about going freelance is the knowledge that it’s the start of a journey, not a destination in and of itself.
Self-employment means different things to different people. For some, it’s a way of reducing their professional responsibilities to spend more time on their personal lives. For others, it’s a means of self-expression and exploration, allowing them to try their hand at a new discipline; meanwhile, there’ll be others who are aiming to realise a long-held dream, or to eventually make it big and turn their home business into a global brand.
Whatever your ultimate goals, you’ll be free to work towards them at your own pace and on your own terms. After all, it feels so much better to be heading out on a journey into the unknown when you know it’s your hand on the tiller.
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